There just aren’t as many skilled and experienced employees in the market as there once were!
When the economy tanked in 2008 – especially for the housing and building industries – many skilled workers went back to school or found a job in a different industry. Those that did stay in the game are now demanding more cash and can be hired away at the drop of a hat for a little more an hour.
Hiring young workers and training them seems more frustrating than losing your quality employees. The basic skills taught a few decades ago are not being taught so readily to the new generation. How to drive a straight nail even seems foreign to many workers entering the market.
This has created a huge gap in many industries. Not enough experience to hold the quality end up, higher labor costs, and little new talent coming through the door.
Time for a “Hiring Strategy.”
It feels like more work than it’s worth, but if you can create an incredible strategy for finding, hiring and training excellent people you will save yourself weeks and months of lost productivity and revenue.
Actually, a hiring strategy is not very different than a marketing strategy. It boils down to several questions you need to be asking that you probably are not:
What are the key, measured results that I want from every worker?
- Besides experience, what are the key values my ideal worker will bring to the table?
- What can we teach and – more importantly – what can we not teach?
- What can we do to make the hiring process more detailed instead of just hiring the guy that can fog a mirror?
Hiring for experience is good, but hiring a team member who has a great work ethic, a desire to learn and a drive to succeed will be a better employee every time. Some of the best people I have ever hired had zero experience. Why? Because they had a drive to succeed. Granted, certain positions require specific qualifications. I won’t hire a doctor without a degree or license to practice but a great attitude. However, once the minimum qualifications for a position are met, the rest can be taught.
A mistake I often see in hiring is not doing your due diligence in the process. Put your people through the ringer. Do multiple interviews, perform a “working interview” by requiring them to “ride along” for a day. I even suggest that you know their spouse or someone important in their life. You don’t want the employee who has a crazy person at home draining the energy they should put into their work. And of course, check references, review backgrounds, and have drug tests performed.
Ultimately, you have to have a process for hiring. Just like your sales process, framing a door, booking a patient, or wiring a house. There are certain principles to use and can be adjusted for the job you need done. But when you start short-cutting the process, you start short-cutting your results.
David Bryant Mitchell is a business coach and consultant that works with business owners and managers to create momentum in their business with strategies and tactics that they can implement today. These strategies are based on the five building blocks of business: Marketing, Leadership, Operations, Finance and Systems.
Few things in life are equal to the joy of a job well done.
But for most business leaders, we feel the job is never “done”.
One day I was sitting at the table with my family. Sarah (my lovely and patient wife) was telling me about her day. Suddenly she says:
“Care to join us?”
I had drifted away from my family to think about the concerns I had at the office. I was steeling time from my family. This was not a one-time occurrence.
It was then that I decided I had to change a few things.
I started re-evaluating what I was doing and decided that I needed to train my staff better. It was relieving to discover how effective I could be – and I wasn’t overwhelmed.
Many of us as business leaders assume too much accountability. I’m not saying responsibility because we are always responsible for what occurs under our leadership. I’m saying that we do not share accountability with our team – or we fail to make a team that we hold accountable. By delegating and holding our team accountable, we can move the business forward without getting bogged down.
I often talk about the business leader who is still “swinging the hammer.” Instead of running a business, he has positioned himself to be the business. He has not developed a team that will allow him to delegate and leave him with the most important tasks – developing the business.
Even if you are a “one-man-army” there are ways to delegate and develop a team. There are great resources of bookkeeping/accounting, webdesign, setting appointments and even answering your phone. You can out-source these locally or use services like odesk.com, elance.com and Fiverr.com.
Remember you don’t have to go it alone. Do it, delegate it, or dump it.
OK. I’ve had enough information over-load. I find myself constantly looking for new ideas, new ways of marketing, new ways to deliver my service that will move my business and my life-style forward in some incredible leap.
Each of us reach our “plateaus” – those stages where we have reached a wall and can’t seem to climb it, go around it or even go under it. It feels like you are just beating your head against the wall and can’t get past it.
The key to getting past the wall or moving off the plateau is more simple than you might think. And even I struggle with it:
I have seen in many of my clients that they have one of two problems. One problem is they have a hundred strategies in various levels of development, but none of them completed. The other is that they continue using the techniques that have taken them this far, but don’t make the adjustments necessary to continue growing. As Dan Sullivan says, “The skills that got you out of Egypt are not the same skills that will get you to the Promised Land.”
So how do you break those plateaus? How do you get beyond the wall?
The first is complete implementation. Pick one strategy and develop it, launch it and tweak it before moving on to the next one. Rather than starting a new business line, why not figure out how to make the current service/product more efficient, satisfy needs better, reduce your cost or increase your revenue? Rather than looking for a new marketing method, why not develop the marketing efforts you currently have to create more sales?
The second is to stop doing what isn’t working. If you are still doing the same things and can’t move forward, it might be time to start teaching your team to take over some of your tasks (delegation) to free you up to begin taking your business to “The Promised Land.”
Either way, you need someone to walk you through it. You can’t do it by yourself.
You already know what you should be doing, now get someone to help you organize your thoughts and make a plan to follow-through.
Let me know if you are ready to break your ceiling:
If you were to watch my 10-year-old son eat, you would think we only fed him a few times a week. He often acts like he is starving to death. He will sometimes shove so much food in his mouth, he can’t completely close it. He is in such a hurry to eat he makes a mess of his clothes and the table, chokes, and actually takes longer to eat.
As entrepreneurs, we tend to do the same thing with our to-do lists and the commitments that we make to customers, suppliers, our families and to ourselves. We take on so much, we end up making a huge mess, burn ourselves out and take longer to get the list done.
However, much of this “over-stuffed to-do list” is born out of necessity. In order to stay competitive and fulfill expectations, we commit to early mornings, late nights, skipped meals and then neglect our personal well-being and relationships.
Eventually we have to get it done, and getting it done requires time. I see many of my clients suffer from the over-commitment dilemma. There is one solution, however, that is the most over-looked: Delegation.
The problem that most entrepreneurs have with delegation is that they wait too long before they begin thinking about it – and when they do, they do not have the right people or systems in place to ensure that the job is done as well or better than the leader herself would have done. The result is that it just seems easier for you to do it yourself – creating the vicious cycle of overwhelm to start again.
Break the cycle:
The first step is to create a list of everything you are currently doing yourself. Next, sort this list into three categories: outsource, hire, and keep.
The question now becomes what can you afford, both emotionally and financially, to remove from your list and forever place them on the “outsource” and “hire” lists?
Ask yourself this question: What will allow you to increase your cash flow the most?
Is it someone to do the technical work that will allow you to do more bids? Is it sales that will allow you to do more of the technical work that can only be done with a license or specialized training? Or is it the office work like bookkeeping, data entry or answering the phone that will allow you to generate more sales?
Get off the overwhelm cycle here:
Now before you start to yawn and think it’s another opportunity to hear your ninety-something uncle Frank talk about how life was before they invented paper while passing copious amounts of gas – this was 20 great people and their children ranging in ages from a few months to 21 years old that I happen to be related to. I’m sore from the softball, basketball and invented games that have yet to be named.
I came away with a great reminder about my business. My business is designed to support my life – not the other way around.
So here is a call to action for you: Make sure you have time to enjoy the people you love or do the things you like most.
If there is business that MUST be done while you are off – it means developing systems in order to make sure the team members and technology can handle the load for you.
Ready for some time off? Click here
I’ve been reviewing the many clients I have had over the years and looking at what the difference has been between the ones who grew their business and those that did not.
As I developed my list, here is what I have determined made them successful:
Follow-Through – This was the single most important factor in who succeeded and who did not. The ones that I saw increase their sales, hire better employees, and create exstatic customers were the ones who put into action the things they committed to doing.
Burning Desire – not a passing craving, or a “that-would-be-nice” motivation. They were almost obsessed with changing their business to become something incredible.
Willing to Be Challenged – they did not mind having someone challenge their way of thinking. They were humble and wanted to learn. However, when they would defend an aspect of their business, they had a well thought-out reason and could logically defend why it was that way. Emotions were important in the decision, but there was logical basis to it.
Time to Think, Plan and Dream – Successful clients I have worked with took the time to think through what was happening every day. They (usually) did not allow everyone else to dictate their schedule or the just rely on their to-do list to determine what would happen next. Dreaming was an important aspect as well since it allowed them to re-focus on what they wanted to accomplish (see “A Higher Ideal” below.)
Support – As a coach, I help provide support and provide accountability. Those who are amazingly successful, however had another person or group that was cheering them on.
A higher Ideal – The success of the business was merely a symptom of something bigger. Successful people started their business because it was their passion. They did have to find a way to monitize and leverage it for it to be able to grow. Sales became easy then and their focus became more about doing what they love – the money followed.
Faith – Faith in something greater than yourself is critical. I don’t mean an ideal or a passion. I mean someone or governing power that controls the universe. Faith in God is an easy one to identify. Some of my succesful clients have been agnostic or aethiest, but they believed in something – that people are basically good, natural energy, etc.
Creativity – The ability to see potential in the mundane is key to any success. People that I would deem successful were able to look beyond what is right in front of them and finding value where others could not.
Discernment – Beyond seeing the potential in the mundane, the people I know who have moved to great heights are those who can push away the distractions and the waste of time. They did not spend much time on failing efforts. They either changed it or abandonded it.
Courage – I don’t just mean the courage it takes to branch out on your own. I mean the quite courage it takes to do the most important thing when no one is looking or holding you accountable to it.
So the challenge for today is this: What are you missing within yourself that is keeping you from growing?
“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.”
I had the special privilege of being in a Silverdale Rotary meeting where six high school kids were being honored for the many great things they are doing with their lives. All six came from different backgrounds, different family structures, and different cultural heritages.
Each of them was supposed to address the audience.They talked about the many activities, clubs, teams and other efforts they were making in their lives. The reason they gave for doing everything was simple: they had a large horizon that they planned to cross. There was little desire for the award they were receiving – the awards they craved were much larger than the little framed certificate and small gift they were receiving that day.They want to be greater than themselves.
So that got me thinking: “these teens are defining success in ways they understand it. Most of us had the same ambitions and dreams.”
Do we still define success the same way we did in high school?
What caused us to change how we measure success?
I can’t define success in life for you.
Business success is just as elusive. A “successful” business is often defined as growing, making a profit, long-term viability, attracting investors, . . . . The measures are endless.
Make up your mind. Set your horizon. Determine your measures. Make it happen.
“Even a blind hog will find an acorn once in a while.”
This is the type of thing my very Texan grandfather used to tell me. While this is not something I directly remember him saying, he would enjoy it just the same.
So what does that mean exactly? You can take it two ways, I guess.
- Even the handicapped get lucky sometimes
- You don’t need every advantage to be successful.
I prefer the second meaning.
Anytime you start out on a new venture – I’m sure you feel like that blind hog. Rooting around the ground with your nose hoping to find the first sign of the acorn you need. That first acorn sure is nice, isn’t it?
So, here is what happens. You start out and trip, stumble and even run headfirst into the trunk of the wrong tree. After stumbling along, you find the first acorn. Sweet success!
If you are observant, you can pick up on the “unseen” signs that point you to future success. You begin to discover what works and what does not.
It requires tons of time and failure to get to that big “win”.
This brings us to the fifth element that determines if a wrestler or business owner is successful: Determination.
There is another side to this. You don’t have to “root around” for too long. A little help from a coach can get you moving in the right direction without running head-first into the wrong tree.
“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948)
I know I have said it before, but as I look back I realize:
I was a short and scrawny kid.
I started wrestling in the 4th grade to learn to defend myself against bullies. After about a year of wrestling, my coach pulled my father aside and told him that I really needed to work on my upper body strength. He suggested my father buy a climbing rope and have me climb it as often as I could. The goal was to get me to where I could climb the rope and then lower myself back down using only my arms.
My wise father could not find a ready-made rope – so he made one by tightly twisting smaller rope strands together. He hung the 10 foot rope in a tree and told me that if I was to get better in my wrestling, I should learn to climb the rope as my coach had suggested.
I remember getting to the point where I could climb up and down several times in a row with only my arms. It wasn’t until recently that my father related the following to me:
“I would get calls from your mom a couple of times a week,” my father told me. “She would be almost in tears saying ‘He’s at it again!'”
The way he tells it, learning to climb the rope was such a struggle for me at first that it worried my mother.
As my father told me the story I came to realize something about myself. I hate to quit. At times I have been absolutely destroyed because I refused to admit that I was beat.
Sometimes, I am not sure if it’s strength, stubbornness, determination or just stupidity.
In your business – what is your strength? Besides expertise, knowledge, or resources. What inner strength do you have to keep plugging along?
For your business to survive, you have to find it.
Build to Sell!
Dan Martin with Seattle Score will lead a discussion on how to build your business with the intention of selling it for a profit.
Dan co-founded a book publishing business with his wife, Nancy, in 1976. He boot-strapped the small start-up out of his garage and grew the company to $10 million in annual sales before selling the company to his employees in 2007. He remains a member of the Board of Directors and now volunteers for Seattle SCORE.
Panera Bread will provide Coffee and Bagels for the Event.